Tuesday, 21 July 2009

And a few more pictures!!

David and Rob made this the other day for me.
It is another acrylic on wood piece...lovely pine from an old chest of drawers. David traced the design from a book and did 90% of the painting. Rob added a few highlights, for the finishing touch. David was brilliant at transferring the design using carbon paper, so there may be a few more of these creations coming over the next few months! They are looking to get a saw that enables you to cut curves and such like. Is that like rainbow paint? I mean, a saw that cuts curves...I ask you! lol
I went to the library this afternoon to get a couple of books and happened upon a 'Drawing Wildlife' book which I thought Jonathan might be interested in. This is what he has just come in with.

Oddly enough he was making these with a friend yesterday and again today. Rabbit traps! They worked really well as a team..Jonathan is usually a one man band when creating. I think he makes quite a good little instructor.

Yes, that is a pushchair ON the table in that last photo...it is keeping dry, Tommy style under the gazebo!

And these are some carrots and green beans I picked for dinner this evening. Yummy.

Some pictures from the last few weeks.

This post is for you, Rob. (He said earlier that weren't enough pictures recently!!!)

Two beautiful butterflies...David's is the one on the right.
David doing his money calculations. Looking terribly like school here that day!!!

Tom helping David balance...quite an unusual sight, those two together like that!!
Jonathan's tower of business cards.

Williams multi coloured Landy!!

Rob experimenting with acrylics on wood....pretty darn good for an experiment me thinks!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Red Tent

I am really enjoying this book. I wasn't sure if I would as I've not been a great reader of fiction in recent years. When Rob picked it up from the library for me, he was unsure if he had the right book after reading the blurb on the back. He said he didn't think it was my sort of thing! And I guess he was right really. It's based around the biblical family of Jacob. Most of you will know he had lots of sons, the most famous of which was called Joseph. But it is really a story of women and their relationships with each other and the men in their lives. It is a very powerful story and it is very easy to forget that it is indeed fiction. It is so well written that it feels almost real. The Red Tent is where all the women go during their moontime, where it is celebrated and respected by all. A tradition that is lost in our society. Such a shame. I for one always feel inferior at this time of the month, especially as I am surrounded by males. I certainly don't get any respect or feel that I can take time out to celebrate it. It always just feels like such a nuisance that has to be endured, painfully sometimes but not always. Usually it is a strain mentally.
I'm not sure that this a review of the book! It is more a thought that has occurred because of it! The lady whose blog I saw it on, said that it was 'Time to read The Red Tent again' and I can see that this is a book I will want to buy and reread myself lots of times. Also to lend to friends. It's a fabulous book.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

All the things I can think.

Boys are watching 'Summerhill' on iPlayer at the moment. They watched it a year or more ago when I videoed it for them. It was watched a couple of times then I seem to remember and is captivating the 3 younger ones again now. It is almost as if they themselves are seeking reassurance about the way we are educating them! There has been much talk recently about the lack of academic work we do as a family.
I myself have been seeking reassurance again, but quietly.
The events of Tuesday evening have left me feeling very emotional and am finding myself asking lots of questions that I have no answers to.
I have sourced a book from the library called 'The Red Tent' by Anita Diamant that I read about on someones blog a while ago. Not sure whose blog. So if it yours, then thank you, I think it may be just what I need to read right now. I also intend to read another book by her called 'Good Harbor' which sounds equally as appropriate.
I seem to be spending so much time trying to make sense of things at the moment. So many thoughts in my head about so many aspects of life. Thoughts that are not clear or definite but are being mulled over.
Supporting Hannah during the birth felt so right. I followed my instincts and encouraged Han to follow hers; to listen to her body and go with it. Was that just because it was Han, or could I do the same for anyone? It has got me thinking again about something I have thought about before. The first time I thought about it was after the birth of David, my first homebirth. I realised just how important it was to have a supportive midwife. I don't think she realised what an impact she made on me....I learned so much from her, probably because she had a trainee with her at the time and she was explaining things much more than perhaps she would have ordinarily have done.
Life took a dramatic turn after David was born and so the idea was forgotten about until after the birth of William, my second homebirth. The knowledge that had been gleaned from her was the reason that I felt able to do it again, with or without a 'good' midwife.
Then I met Han and I learned about babywearing and attachment parenting........ and Doulas. Midwifery had always seemed such a daunting prospect...I wouldn't want to work in a hospital, but a Doula? Now maybe that could be a possibility.
I believe so strongly in natural birth and that given the right support ANYONE can give birth naturally. Because that is how we are designed. Yet so many people don't have or manage to find the right support.
There just isn't enough hours in the day for all the thoughts in my head.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Perfect moment.

My friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last night, at home. Unassisted. And I was there by her side. It was all just so right....calm and quiet, relaxed and happy.
I am overwhelmed by emotion and feel so priveleged to have been there.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Mummies and daddies...

is what William has been investigating this morning! He has been playing with his animals and as he likes to line things up and order them, he spent a lot of time categorising them. That meant deciding which ones were mummies, and which were daddies, for every species of animal he had. He kept bringing them out to me in the kitchen, upside down wanting to check that he was right!!!! It was quite amusing to see him bring out 2 pigs, upside down, saying this one is a mummy and this one is a daddy....the difference is quite obvious when you know what you are looking for!!!
It has been a while since I last posted. Since then we have been plumbers, unblocking drains....by dismantling the pipework initially and using a piece of wire to tweeze out the blockage, and then when that only got us so far, as we couldn't get to any more joins, we had to resort to drain unblocker gel. Ridiculously expensive, horribly harsh on the environment and even worse on my sensitive nose! But what other option was there?
Rob has just passed the tests and scrutiny of the fire service and will be beginning his training for the Retained Fire Service in September. Very exciting! It will be a while yet before he is let loose on the public though. I'm not sure how I feel about being married to a fireman!

We went to visit a local Organic Garden yesterday, and it inspired me and David to make a little ladybird house for them to hibernate in. It was made from one of Jonathans boxes, and a number of canes that we sawed into lengths and then hollowed out with a skewer. Once they were all wedged in place, we put it in a quiet place in the garden....
The ducks it seems, are 1 drake and 3 ladies which is great news!! They all seem very happy, waddling around in the garden and paddling and dabbling in the water filled sand pit. I just hop that they do their job of keeping the slug and snail population down. They'll have to earn their keep before egg laying begins in a few months time.
Tom has been doing more welding, making a stand for a flag pole for an off roading show. Then he was asked to help someone make some more, and they did a round trip of 100 miles or more to fetch him and take him back to their garage!! A great opportunity, with thanks and respect from the chap for his work.
Which is more than I can say he gets from a certain person who shall remain nameless. He seems to think that the ONLY way to get into college, or to get a job is to get GCSE's and holds far too much regard for university, when he himself never went, or indeed thought about going. And why would he? He was from a normal working class family, (is that politically correct?)as did I. There would have been no money for putting a child through university and debt of that scale would not have appealed to him. Instead, he trained for a respectable career at college, which he followed for a few years after leaving. He now works at what I would call, a 'normal' job that do not require any special skills or specific training at college to do. So why does he continue to pursue the converstaion with Tom regarding GCSE's and university? Tom is very tolerant and just listens and doesn't challenge him, but there will come a day when he will and their relationship will suffer. He doesn't talk to me about HE, or challenge it in anyway , yet it is obvious that he has issues with it. Did he not do any kind of research when we first started home educating? I did offer to talk and lend books and to give links to websites to explain it, but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
I suppose this is very illustrative of the attitudes of many people that we are up against at the moment, following the recent report. It is different. Out of the ordinary. Not mainstream. We are not just running with the herd. It obviously unnerves some people.
He even went as far as to say how difficult it was going to get now that they are going to start clamping down on us....was he really gloating? And why? Hard to fathom some people.
I am troubled by it. Part of me wants to talk to him about it all and explain what damage he could be doing, but the other half wants to leave Tom to get on with it as long as he feels comfortable doing so.
I had to laugh though, when I asked Jonathan if he had been talking to him about HE too. He said yes, but when I asked him what he had been saying, Jonathan replied, 'I don't know, I wasn't listening!!! LOL

Family photo. Tom being on the left, and Jonathan on the far right!!!

It has just occurred to me that it might be wise at this point to say that the 'he' in the above section isn't Rob!!!! Just in case you were wondering!!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Money, money, money...

Well, there has been an awful lot of talking about money in this house recently. Personally, I hate the stuff, and wish that we could live without it, or at least mostly without it. We were listening to Doctor Dolittle going to the HE group the other day, and I was reminded of the fact that he hated it too!
There has been the selling of secondhand goods on Ebay....mainly the trailer tent, which required a fair amount of effort on mine and the two bigger boys part. Wehad to pitch it up on the grass outside the house and take photos of all the different parts of it....it is very big!! Then I had to list it, as acuurately and eloquently as possible. It is quite old so we had to be honest but still make it sound as good as it actually is. Then there was listing fees to be discussed and of course at the end if the auction the selling fees and paypal fees, having decided to accept her payment befor ethey come to collect it next weekend. So was it actually worth the effort? A fair percentage is swallowed by Ebay, but I don't think it would have been that easy to sell it locally for any more, so probably.
Then we have been trying to do a household budget. We have an awful lot of out goings here, which seem to increase disproportionately to the income. It has been time to look at all of that and make some decisions and possibly some cuts (don't know where though!). The question of the viability of keeping a horse has been raised. But it isn't just a horse, it is Bob, from which we all get pleasure, even if from time to time it causes stress. But the monthly insurance for him has just been increased by over 50%!!! How can they justify that? Well, they couldn't, justthat everyones is going up. Good job my car insurance isn't being increased atthe same rate....and why no discount for no claims? Hmmm. Will need to think about that one, carefully.
Then there has been money in terms of maths. David has always been very interested in money. He has quite a collection of coins, both foreign and old English ones. He uses them in games as treasure or currency. He also likes to look at them and find out what countries they are from, or what date it was made. Now he has started doing maths with money. I printed off a load of worksheets from Mathsphere when we first started HE and laminated them. Time and symmetry were among them. They have satthere untouched until now. We have been using the money ones for the last three days and he has filled 4 pages in a maths book full of the answers!!!! It seems as though he is the opposite of most of the children from school thatI used to help. Most of those were fine with numbers until you added a £ or p sign next to them, then they would go to pieces and not be able to do it! David it seems is the opposite. He is not good with numbers. He struggles in most ways and hates trying to maths worksheets. Yet give him coins and worksheets and I struggle to get him to stop!! He is interested and really wants to work it out. Hetries hard and is counting in 2's, 5's and 10's, even 20's on occaision. It has been good to see him working on something because he wants to rather than me persuading him to.
We also printed some notes for him to add to his play money. He likes things to be as real as possible!
All this talk of money, yet still I dream of ways to make us less reliant upon it all.
The veggies are going well. We have had numerous meals with produce from the garden....broad beans, courgettes, potatoes, garlic, rosemary, strawberries and soon there will be onions and carrots too. The green beans will be getting a thorough combing later on to see if there are enough for dinner tonight. Cabbages and Brussels sprouts are coming along well too.
We eat a lot of homemade food...bread, cakes, pizza, quiche, biscuits, jam, chutney and more recently butter, sausage rolls and mayonnaise. We rarely eat any processed meals at all. Well, the bigger boys and Rob all have a pasty fetish which I am trying to curb, and get them to make their own. Not going too well at the moment! Our eggs are obviously home grown!!! And the tomatoes are doing well....I do hope I will get some red ones this year.
So we don't do badly. In fact pretty well, I guess. But it doesn't feel enough for me! I want to do more! The veg patch, although MUCH bigger than last year isn't very big for a family of six...mostly men. We need that allotment...fingers crossed for next year, eh.